As John Splitt walked in to greet me at the Espresso Royale on State Street, his familiarity with the shop and street was immediately apparent.
Splitt strolled into the cafe, having walked from his dry-cleaning business, Gold Bond Cleaners. “It’s located on Maynard Street, just on the other side of the arcade,” he said, motioning toward Nickels Arcade, a covered passage connecting Maynard and State.
State Street holds a special significance for Splitt as the gateway to his community involvement. In 2004, Splitt joined the board of the State Street Area Association, an experience he described as an educational process, that “opens your eyes to some of the larger downtown issues.” Once on the association’s board, his interest in community service continued, and in 2006 he was appointed to the board of the Ann Arbor Downtown Development Authority (DDA).